Herbs & Plants

Cucumis prophetarum

Botanical Name: Cucumis prophetarum
Family: Cucurbitaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Cucumis
Species:C. prophetarum

*Cucumis prophetarum subsp. dissectus (Naud.) Jeffrey
*Cucumis prophetarum subsp. prophetarum

*Cucumis prophetarum subsp. dissectus:
*Cucumis chrysocomus var. echinophorus (Naud.) Hiern
*Cucumis ficifolius var. dissectus (Naudin) Cogn.
*Cucumis figarei var. dissectus Naudin

Common Names: Wild Gourd, Wild Cucumber • Rajasthani: Khad-Kachar • Urdu: Kharchvit, Kharindroyan

Cucumis prophetarum is native to Mauritania east to the Horn of Africa and southwest to Angola, as well as northern South Africa, southern Mozambique, Comoros, and northern Egypt. It is also native to Israel, southern Lebanon, southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and northwestern India. It has been introduced to Qatar.

It grows in semi-desert scrub; deciduous bushland and grassland; in tugs or on limestone slopes; dry Acacia bushland; open Acacia-Commiphora bushland and grassland; also in cultivated places from sea level to elevations of 2,010 metres.

Cucumis prophetarum is a dioecious and prostrate or climbing perennial vine. Its stems and leaves are hairy and the leaves are ovate to round in shape and cordate at the bases and measure 2–4 centimeters in length. They have 3–5 blunt-toothed lobes. Male flowers occur in clusters of 2–3 and are rarely solitary; female flowers are always solitary. They have five yellow petals. The fruit is slightly ovoid and is vertically striped and yellow in color when ripe. It measures 3–4 centimeters in length and is covered in spike-like pustules. It grows wild in semi-desert bushland and grassland up to 6594 feet (2010 meters) in elevation, often with acacia trees.


Cultivation: A plant of low to moderate elevations in the drier areas of the tropics. It grows in Tanzania in areas where the mean annual rainfall is in the range 600 – 1,300mm

Propagation: Through seeds.

Edible Uses: Fruits are eaten raw or cooked. Young fruits are sometimes eaten raw. The immature fruit can be pickled like a gherkin. The fully ripe fruit has a bitter flavour, but is sometimes boiled and eaten. Mature fruits can be cut into small slices, dried and then cooked as a vegetable after adding a paste of pounded groundnuts.

Leaves. The tender leaves are cooked and served with a staple. They are also dried in the sun, pounded and used as a vegetable paste with pounded groundnuts

Medicinal Uses:The bitter fruit is used as an emetic. It is used in folk medicine in Saudi Arabia to treat liver disorders and an extract from it has been proven to contain cytotoxicity against six cancer cell lines. Another extract from the fruit induces an anti-diabetic effect.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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